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Jul 17 2016
by Nancy Canevari

10 Up-and-Coming College Fashion Designers

By Nancy Canevari - Jul 17 2016
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For us college students, fashion is often akin to grand forces of nature — something that can be admired and respected, but in the land of sweatpants and hoodies, is usually regarded from a distance. At the same time, however, there are students our age who are making headlines in the world of fashion and are paving the way for new trends on a daily basis. The following are ten students currently enrolled in universities and colleges in the U.S. (and abroad) who are striking new ground in fashion, and who are definitely ones to watch in the world of style.

1. Rosa Angelica Avilez - University of the Arts London

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Avilez is a rising sophomore at the University of the Arts London, studying fashion design technology with a concentration in menswear. Prior to starting her studies at U Arts, she completed an Art and Design Foundation at Oxford Brookes University. Her work was first brought to the public eye when she won first prize in the Midlands Region for the Young Fashion Designer UK Contest in 2014, and since then she has exhibited a collection called “Moda Maya," which contains works inspired by traditional Mayan culture and dress, serving as homage to Avilez’s Mayan roots. All of the textiles in the collection are sourced from ethically paid Guatemalan craftspeople.

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2. Lyssa Current - The Tyler School of Art

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Current is an incoming sophomore pursuing a BFA in fine arts. She explains her style as containing "imagination [and] an array of colors," and often incorporates nontraditional materials in her work. The pieces in her Recess portfolio, which contains designs such as a coat made out of stuffed animals called the "Cuddly Coat," a rain jacket decorated with rubber ducks called "Bathtime" and a headpiece and vest made out of crayons called "Razzmatazz," were made from toys found in Current's basement from her childhood. "I wanted to take the playful items acquired through my childhood and have them join me on my journey as I mature as an artist. I chose to make all of these fashion pieces to take the collective idea of a metaphorical 'inner child' and to manifest it into a literal 'outer child.'" Current won an American Visions Award for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in 2015, as well as a National Silver Medal for her Art Portfolio that same year. 

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3. Alanne Rose - Syracuse University

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Rose is a rising senior pursuing a degree in fashion design. Her work is vibrant and unique, featuring bold black and white patterns, textured fabrics and non-traditional mediums such as paper. She was featured on the Black Fashion blog, a platform where people of color are able to share their unique fashion senses in a society where they are often neglected by popular media, when she was sixteen, and currently works at the Tracy Reese studio in New York.

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4. Lucy Leith - The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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Leith is an incoming junior pursuing a BFA with a concentration in fashion design, whose work explores the borders between fantasy and the real world, between obsession and healthy behavior. Her work includes clothing made from tessellations, a coat designed to resemble the prehistoric arthropod the trilobite and several pieces made from deconstructed articles of clothing. Her self-titled portfolio contains several pieces inspired by the world of insects, including a dress influenced by a green beetle and an outfit designed to resemble a beetle’s eyes and pincers.

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5. Greg Dugdale - Savannah College of Art and Design

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Dugdale is an incoming senior pursuing a BFA. His work is characteristically colorful and vibrant, including works such as a matching rainbow dress and suit for pride month and a variety of other vibrant dresses with colorful, floral patterns. Several of his pieces are made from upcycled and nontraditional materials such as drapery lining, plastic box ties and even duct tape.

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6. Erin Ceconi - Pratt Institute

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Ceconi is an incoming senior studying Fashion Apparel and Design. She has produced multiple fashion collections during her time working as a designer, including her Insomnia and Control collections, which incorporate abstract shapes and designs that utilize a variety of fabrics, and several collections for the fall/winter season and the spring/summer season. She has also produced a collection of sculptural fashion made from discarded library books, maps and plastic. Her goal is to create fashion that straddles the line between art and functionality, that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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7. Erin Keenan - Moore College of Art and Design

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Keenan is an incoming senior pursuing a degree in fashion. She describes her aesthetic as using multiple color schemes and textures, and is inspired by Japanese street fashion among other aspects of design. In May of 2016 she won the Fashion Faceoff contest, the product of a collaboration between Moore and Vantage Apparel. Her entry incorporated embroidery etching on the backs of pullover hoodies.

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8. Arthur Morisset - Parsons the New School of Design

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Morisset is a rising senior pursuing a BFA in fashion. His work has been featured in the Fusion Fashion Show, an annual show that features student work from Parsons and FIT. His featured collection is titled The Wheatfield, and is a retelling of the novel, "The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein," by Marguerite Duras. The collection features neutral colors like suede, black and pale pink, and creates a duality of fierce and delicate looks. He was also a runner-up in the Council of Fashion Design of America and Teen Vogue’s scholarship contest.

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9. Brooks Vessels - University of Louisville

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Vessels is a rising sophomore whose work has been showcased at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville and at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her designs feature many non-traditional artistic mediums, from lace doilies to pressed flowers. She likes to, "Create pieces that push the boundaries between fashion, craft and fine art," and often "[mixes] medias that wouldn't normally mesh to push [herself] both as an artist and designer." Vessels feels that she has benefited from the rigorous schedule of a design student: she explains that, "In addition to staying up all night writing papers, I also stay up sewing or weaving or dyeing fabric for a critique or show that's coming up."

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10. Halimah Muhammad - Kent State University

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Halimah is a rising sophomore pursuing a degree in fashion design, whose goal is to create clothing that is both modest and stylish in accordance with her Muslim faith. Muhammad has an online shop where she sells thrifted fashion items that promote her style, from shawls to blouses. She held her first fashion show in June of 2015 to raise money for students at the Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago, who were granted the opportunity to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum: Explore STEM at Loyola University of Chicago, but who lacked the financial means to do so. Muhammad also has a YouTube channel, where she frequently posts videos of style options for women who wish to remain modest while staying fashionable.

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Lead Image Credit: Kris Atomic via Unsplash

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Nancy Canevari - Smith College

Nancy is a junior editor for Fresh U. She is a sophomore at Smith College and plans on double majoring in secondary education and English, with a concentration in creative writing. She's originally from New Jersey, a place she views with one part love and one part exasperated disgust. She loves dogs and young adult high fantasy novels a bit too much and spends most of her time drinking tea and yelling about politics. Follow her on Instagram @fearlesslynancelot for some solidly mediocre content.

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